In mid-March, as the coronavirus raged in New York, Washington, California, and New Jersey, and the crisis of personal protective equipment shortages intensified, Dov Charney of Los Angeles Clothing became the first to enter this blank clothing One of retailers.
When reopening his own Los Angeles factory to produce masks, Mr. Chaney, the former chief executive of the American apparel company, was dismissed on suspicion of misusing funds and knowingly allowing sexual harassment, changing from industry bias to advocate.
His new company, Los Angeles Apparel, is considered an essential business. Chani said the federal government became a customer. The long road to redemption seemed to suddenly shorten.
In a press release detailing the closure, the health department cited “blatant violations of mandatory public health infection control orders” and “not cooperating with DPH’s investigation of the reported COVID-19 outbreak”.
Jane King, a health official in the South and West of Los Angeles, said this was one of the first factories to shut down in Los Angeles due to a coronavirus-related disease outbreak. Although the health department has conducted a lot of investigations, it is usually resolved by taking action with related companies.
“Business owners and operators have corporate, ethical and social responsibilities to employees and their families to provide a safe working environment that complies with the directives of all health officials. This responsibility is more important than ever, as we continue to work on this deadly Virus,” Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Public Health Bureau, said in a statement about the shutdown, which included a timetable for the investigation.
Charney called the announcement “media drama” on the phone and said: “I don’t think the press release represents the views of the people I work with the Ministry of Health. Some of them apologized to me. This is not true.”
He also published a lengthy response, part of which was: “Fairly speaking, the health department is morally irresponsible when it comes to the infection rate of our factories, and it has not resolved its connection to the entire problem: In the medical system, the Latino community in Los Angeles is vulnerable to Covid-19 attacks. The system does not provide test support, nor does it provide support or assistance to people who test positive.”
Now, Mr. Shani and the health department have stated that they are working together to solve the problem so that the medical institution can reopen and the business (and employment) can continue. Both sides said that their only concern was the safety of workers.
However, due to Mr. Chaney’s complicated professional history and recent news about the Los Angeles apparel field, the play is being performed in the spotlight.
The term “Made in the USA” is generally considered an abbreviation for ethical products. However, reports on the status and salary levels of sweatshops in the past few years, including the New York Times survey of a factory in Los Angeles that offers fast fashion brand Fashion Nova, have subverted this myth.
Mr. Charney said that Los Angeles Apparel opened in 2016 and employed nearly 2,000 workers in the three buildings. Chani said that since the start of the coronavirus, they have produced more than 10 million masks, of which about 80% have been sent to government agencies.
Mr. Chaney said that all employees wear masks and the machines are six feet apart. He said that equipment and spaces were regularly disinfected, and that the company has been conducting regular tests on employees in the past five weeks.
According to officials, on June 19, a nurse contacted the Los Angeles County Public Health Bureau about a possible outbreak of Los Angeles clothing.
The health department launched an investigation, which included a request for the company to send a list of all employees-the health department said that even multiple appeals were not satisfied. On June 26, the health department conducted a field visit and the factory closed the next day.
Ms. Jin said the violations found included cardboard barriers between worker stations and coronavirus instruction materials that have not yet been translated into Spanish (the first language of most employees). An official also discovered the lack of training in health procedures, so that at the doctor’s request, employees who were supposed to screen colleagues for symptoms could not list their conditions, even if they were posted on the wall behind the employees.
Ms. Jin said that although some of the violations were minor, there was a feeling that the company did not take seriously the documents sent by the health department that listed the changes. As a result, the number of the investigation team increased from one person to about 10.
The factory reopened briefly on July 9 and was then forced to close.
Mr. Chaney disputed almost all of these facts. He said that the company itself first issued an alert to the health department. The company has done its best to provide the required employee list, but it involves privacy issues; the cardboard is also subject to social evacuation regulations (and recommended by consultants because the virus does not have a long life on cardboard).
He also said that the health department is responsible for translating its documents into Spanish, not the company’s responsibility.
He said that the legal department of the health department had told him that the factory could be reopened on July 9th, although Ms. Jin said that in the first place, written documents allowing reopening were needed. Mr. Charney attributed the confusion to the department’s overburdened “poor communication.”
When talking about the sick, Ms. Jin said: “Three hundred cases are a very worrying outbreak.”
According to a statement from the Ministry of Health, the plant will remain closed until “they can prove that the facility is fully compliant with public health requirements”, but both the health department and Mr. Chani’s hopes will reopen later this week.
Ms. Jin said that both sides “maintain close contact.” Mr. Chaney said he “learned a lot”.